Conflicting beliefs regarding trans people

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Joined: 10 May 2005
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 7,242

25 Aug 2016, 6:44 am

A lot of trans activists say that for example trans women are simply women, and are no less of a woman no matter how masculine they look. This view clearly comes from an individualist view that people have some internal, unchanging "essence" that exists regardless of what goes on around them. This view is very popular among white people in the west. Because of this "essence", no matter how much others would regard her as a man, a trans woman is simply a woman.

There is on the other hand the view that you are defined by your interactions with others. You are a woman because others regard you as such, because you interact as such. This is a more collectivist view favored by many other societies. In this view, if people generally regard a trans woman as a man, then that trans woman is a man. Thus, passing is very important.

Me, personally, as a trans woman, I lean toward the latter. I have never been comfortable with arguments that someone who doesn't really pass (and this seems to include me) is as much of a woman as someone who does, because this whole "essence" thing is stupid anyway; it's clear that people don't treat you as a woman if you're the former, and if they do refrain from misgendering you it's because they are trying to be nice, not that they actually consider you a woman. If you're the latter, then people will treat you as a woman, and in many respects consider you one.

For those of us who can't pass, it may seem harsh, but them's the shakes.

"You have a responsibility to consider all sides of a problem and a responsibility to make a judgment and a responsibility to care for all involved." --Ian Danskin


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Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,195
Location: USA

29 Aug 2016, 6:19 am

My experience at workplaces is that people know the truth, and will think of you as a woman, regardless of what you look like.

I've worked with several trans women in their 50s+ who made no effort , and were still regarded as women.